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Ingalls Shipbuilding christens amphibious assault ship

Ship’s sponsor Mrs. Ellyn S. Dunford christened the Bougainville (LHA 8) at HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding. Pictured from left is Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven, Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson, Prospective Commanding Officer, Bougainville (LHA 8) Capt. Harry Marsh, USN, and Ship’s Sponsor Ellyn S. Dunford (Photo courtesy of HII).

HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division has christened the Navy’s third America-class amphibious assault ship Bougainville (LHA 8).

The ship was successfully launched into the Pascagoula River in early October after being translated from land to the company’s floating dry dock using translation railcars to support the ship one month prior.

Bougainville is the second ship named in honor of the successful World War II campaign enabled by close coordination among the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and allies at Bougainville Island in the Solomons.

During the campaign, which lasted from 1943 to 1944, allied forces secured a strategic airfield from Japanese forces in the northern Solomon Islands, helping the Allies break the Japanese stronghold in the South Pacific.

“Today is not only a day to celebrate our namesake, representatives of the successful outcome of a World War II campaign, but also the teamwork and collaboration of our United States Navy and Marine Corps that enabled it,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson said during the christening ceremony on Saturday. “To fulfill our mission here in the shipyard, our sailors and Marines serve as a stellar example of how this extended network works together to fulfill a bigger purpose.”

In his remarks, Major Gen. James Adams III, nominee for deputy commandant for Programs & Resources, Headquarters United States Marine Corps, honored the Americans who fought during the Bougainville campaign.

Bougainville’s christening symbolizes their enduring legacy – a legacy etched into the very soul of this vessel,” Adams said. “As was the case with Bougainville, the nation needs modern amphibious ships. They are the cornerstone of our nation’s global expeditionary crisis response force.”

Bougainville is sponsored by Ellyn S. Dunford, wife of Gen. Joe Dunford Jr. 19th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and he was also the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps. Ellyn Dunford officially christened the ship by smashing a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the ship.

“From naval architects and engineers to welders and the supply team, they experienced their own challenges, including a pandemic, and true to the spirit of those who fought at Bougainville, they all met the challenge with tenacity and overcame each challenge,” Dunford said.

The America-class LHA is a multi-functional and versatile ship that is capable of operating in a high-density, multi-threat environment as an integral part of an expeditionary strike group, an amphibious task force, or an amphibious ready group.

Ingalls has delivered 15 large-deck amphibious ships to the U.S. Navy. The shipyard delivered the first in the new America class of amphibious assault ships (LHA 6) in 2014 and the second, USS Tripoli (LHA 7), in early 2020.

In addition to BougainvilleFallujah (LHA 9) is currently under construction, and the company authenticated the keel during a ceremony in September 2023.

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